Mind the Gap

Socio-rhetorical

One of the big hurdles in preaching is bridging the cultural gap between our present setting and the society in which the NT documents were composed. It gets even harder when you realize there is actually more than one gap. Take the Apostle Paul for example. He was born in one of the Hellenistic Greek cultural centers, Tarsus. Let’s not forget that he was also a Roman citizen, which adds to the complexity. Acts 22:3 tells us that he was educated under Gamaliel as a strict Pharisee, adding yet another Jewish dimension to the picture. Is there any hope for properly unpacking the cultural baggage which underlies Scripture?

Ben Witherington and David deSilva have devoted much of their academic careers to addressing these issues, leading to the Socio-Rhetorical Commentary Series (8 Vols.). This eight volume set is enables you to successfully navigate these complexities by identifying the relevant cultural or rhetorical features in a given context. Each volume begins with a series of articles orienting you to key factors that shaped writer’s conception of the world. The balance of the book guides you through each passage, highlighting socio-rhetorical facets critical to soundly exegeting the passage.

Although the cultural divide can seem unwieldy, the Socio-Rhetorical Commentary Series is a great resource for bridging the gap. Although Witherington and deSilva are noted experts, their insights are delivered in clear, accessible language. Whether you are a seasoned expert or just jumping into these issues for the first time, I’d highly recommend adding this collection to your library.

Syntax Searching for Everyone: Grammatical Relationships

Video Tutorial

Syntax searching is one of the coolest features of Logos Bible Software 4. I mean, to search and find where something is the subject of a clause, or the object of a clause? So, where, say, Peter does something (subject) or where something is done to Peter (object)?

Despite its coolness, some people think that syntax searching in Logos 4 is difficult. And I’ll admit, understanding the intricacies of syntax databases, the theories behind them, and how they represent structures takes work. But you don’t need to actually devise a query to do a syntax search. There are multiple points of entry, and many do not require you to create a syntax query from scratch.

I recently put together a series of three videos titled “Syntax Searching for Everyone” to show how syntax searching can play a part in your study — without writing a query. As simple as a right-mouse click in a reverse interlinear Bible. The three videos are:

  • Syntax Searching for Everyone: Grammatical Relationships
  • Syntax Searching for Everyone: Using Query Forms
  • Syntax Searching for Everyone: Syntax Search Templates

Today’s video is Syntax Searching for Everyone: Grammatical Relationships. I hope it helps you in your study!

Logos 4: Search Words of Christ

mp|seminars Tips

Today’s post is from Morris Proctor, certified and authorized trainer for Logos Bible Software. Morris has trained thousands of Logos users at his two-day Camp Logos training seminars.

A Logos user recently e-mailed me asking how to limit a Bible search to just the words of Christ. For example, he wanted to locate the word servant in the red lettered words of his Bible. Here’s what I told him:

  • Click the Search icon to open the Search panel
  • Select Bible as the search type
  • On the Search line containing numerous drop down lists, click the last list and select an English Bible like the English Standard Version (ESV)
  • Click the second drop down list if using a PC, or the first for Mac users, and select Words of Christ (Words of Christ is a field in most English Bibles much like Name, Address, Zip Code, etc are fields on an application form. With this selection you’re indicating you only want to search the Words of Christ field in your designated Bible. Default is set to All Bible Text.)
  • In the Find box, type your desired word or phrase, such as servant or fear not
  • Click the search arrow in the Find box

Now you’ll see whereyour word or phrase only appears in the red lettered text of the Bible!

Talmud Top Five

Community Pricing

We recently announced a pre-publication offer for the Babylonian Talmud and the Jerusalem Talmud. I’m pretty excited about this one, so I thought I’d put on my junior marketeer’s hat and share my Top Five Reasons why you might get excited about the Talmud prepub as well:

  1. The Talmuds are two of the most important documents for understanding Judaism, ancient and modern. The Talmuds are by far the two largest components of the dozen or so early Jewish documents that together form the ‘Oral Torah’ – that is the body of teachings passed down by word-of-mouth and eventually codified into writings that, alongside the Written Torah (the Hebrew Bible), are normative for Jewish faith and practice.
  2. The Talmuds are often used to explain Jewish practices mentioned in the New Testament. While the Talmuds were written down three to five centuries after the New Testament, the Talmuds cite individual rabbis for the teachings found within. These rabbis can be dated, making it possible to get a sense for the antiquity of the various teachings found in the Talmuds. (Neusner, the editor and main translator for this set, is less sanguine about the traditional approach to dating Talmudic material, and puts emphasis on the rabbinic literature being products of the time in which they were finally compiled. However, Neusner provides his own criteria for dividing the Talmud into different chronological strata.)
  3. Commentaries, Bible Dictionaries and other references works already in the Logos library cite the Talmuds extensively. I ran a search for the first tractate, Berakoth, across the entire Logos library and found over 13,000 hits ( using a regex search with Match Case turned on: /[bytp]?Ber(a[kc]h?oth?)?/ ). Some of those are related Mishnah references instead of Talmud references (they share the same tractate names) but Berakoth is just one of 49 tractates covered in the Talmuds, and this count doesn’t include books in production now which will greatly benefit from tagged references to the Talmuds, such as Lightfoot’s A Commentary on the New Testament from the Talmud and Hebraica. Tagging these sorts of references makes the software more efficient at helping you dig as deep as you want to go.
  4. Even if one is fairly fluent in Aramaic and Hebrew, reading the Talmud requires special training due to the compact ‘encoding’ and formulae of the compositions. Neusner’s English translations provide parenthetical expansions of the text which ‘unpack’ the Talmuds, making them accessible to a much wider audience. Neusner also structures these texts using an outline format around ‘sense-units’ that visually convey the thought structure of the original texts that is often lost in other translations (you can see this approach in action in Neusner’s translation of the Mishnah as well).
  5. The price is right. The pre-pub cost for this set is the same as the CBD discount price for the PDF editions (a steal at $80 a Talmud—these are massive, multi-volume sets). The PDF editions are searchable and I think quite nice for PDFs, but they do not contain the type of data type milestones or tagging that make Logos books easy to navigate. For example, the PDFs are organized around Neusner’s chapter numbers, but these works are almost universally cited by folio number and an A or B to indicate which side of the folio. The Logos edition will be navigable and linkable by either Neusner’s own structural outline numbers or the traditional folio numbers. References to the Mishnah and the Bible will also be tagged as well, making this edition even more useful than the PDFs, all for the same price.

I’m excited about the avenues of exploration that will open up by having these texts available in the Logos library. If learning about ancient Judaism interests you, either for its own sake or for what it can teach about the New Testament or the Hebrew Bible, have a look at this prepub.

Build Your Library for Less!

Community Pricing

Today’s guest post is by Sarah Wilson, on the marketing team.

Logos has always been about providing the best quality in Bible study resources. One of the ways we do that is through our Community Pricing program, where our customers set the price for various titles and collections. We’ve had many deals throughout the years through Community Pricing, but the one that has everyone excited is The Greater Men and Women of the Bible, which is about to close this Friday.

Community Pricing allows you to set the price! Here’s how it works:

After estimating the cost of production, we provide a price range for you to bid for how much you would pay for a particular item. Simply click on a dollar amount on the graph to place your bid. Once there are enough bids, we can start producing the book. With Community Pricing, the more people who bid, the lower the price for everyone.

[Read more…]

Root for the Home Team with a New Logos Cap

mp|seminars Tips

Over the last few days the baseball world converged in Anaheim, California for the 81st Midsummer Classic, the 2010 All-Star Game. From FanFest to the Home Run Derby, to last night’s All-Star Game, fans and players alike were wearing the ball cap of their "home team" and enjoying the festivities.

Now Logos users have the perfect way to "root root root for the home team" with our one-size-fits-most Embroidered Brushed Cotton Twill Logos Cap.

Made from premium materials, the Logos cap features a relaxed-fit, low-profile unstructured crown and a pre-curved visor so it is ready to wear as soon as you get it. An embroidered Logos logo is prominently stitched on the front of the cap’s khaki crown, right above the contrasting navy bill, and the brass buckle on back makes the cap easily adjustable for a perfect fit.

So whether you’re using Logos Bible Software on the go on your iPhone, iPad, or laptop, relaxing in your backyard, or catching a ball game this summer, it’s time to retire your current favorite cap because as soon as you try on the all new Embroidered Brushed Cotton Twill Logos Cap, you’ll have a new favorite!

A cap like this typically costs $20 or more so at only $9.95, this is a steal. Get yours now, and consider ordering a few extras to give to your friends!

Breaking, or rather break-in, news…

 

It seems like it was just yesterday that thieves broke into our Mac satellite office and made off with all the computers.

But it wasn’t yesterday, it was a month ago, on June 11th.

Apparently they liked the way we loaded up those iMacs as developer workstations, because they came back last week and took all the replacements. And this time they left behind the PCs owned by the company we’re sub-leasing space from. That “Switch” campaign is finally sinking in!

Twice-bitten by the big city, we’re going to hunker down here in low-crime Bellingham (where we’re in our own more secure and video-surveilled space) and work hard to keep our Mac product moving ahead. Maybe we can move the Mac developers to a 24×7 schedule; we’d get the dual benefit of speeding development and having a night-watch team!

Logos 4: OT Quotes in the NT

mp|seminars Tips

Today’s post is from Morris Proctor, certified and authorized trainer for Logos Bible Software. Morris has trained thousands of Logos users at his two-day Camp Logos training seminars.

I recently received an e-mail from a gentleman asking if there was any way to locate all of the Old Testament verses mentioned in the New Testament. You’ll be happy to know the answer is yes! What’s more, Logos even neatly recorded them all in a resource. Here’s how to navigate to the book:

  • Click the Library icon
  • In the Library’s Find box enter this text: type:harmony
    (Note: This will display all of the harmonies contained in your library. You should see the resource, Old Testament Quotations and Allusions in the New Testament, which is included in all base packages with the exception of the Christian Home Library.)
  • Click the title of the resource to open it
  • Click the panel menu of the open resource
  • Select Show table of contents
  • In the contents pane you’ll see both books from the Old Testament (the source of the quote) and New Testament (the destination of the quote)
  • Click the arrow icon next to the title of a biblical book to view the chapters
  • Click a chapter number to jump to that location in the resource

Now you’ll seeboth the source and destination of the quote side-by-side!

The Bible Is Special

BibleAlmost a decade ago I found myself on the phone with a man whose office was a hospital bed.

I had never met him before, but I had heard that he was dying of complications from pulmonary fibrosis and cancer. From what I understood, he was in a hospital bed under his doctor’s supervision, with oxygen tubes in his nose. Unlike some men around 80 with similar declining health and a restrictive lung disease, he didn’t stop talking or let his shortness of breath silence him. He was taking the time and effort to make sure he personally spoke with me, to secure my word in order to see his vision through to the end.

Most of you reading this have spent far more time ministering to and visiting with the sick than I have, and I have been moved by many stories of those under your care and in your own families finishing strong. So what makes this situation so remarkable? Personal attention to something that could have been so easily delegated.

This particular man had representatives in almost 200 countries, 25,000+ full-time employees, and more than 225,000 trained volunteers for his organization. So why was he the one on the phone? Why wasn’t I talking to his staff? What could be so special that he had to personally take the time, and endure the physical discomfort to ensure this got done himself?

[Read more…]

Logos 4 Infographics and Attention to Detail

Calf

Today’s guest blogger is Sean Boisen, senior information architect at Logos.

The many Bible reference resources in Logos 4 contain a wealth of photographs, maps, illustrations, and other images that can enhance your study of the Bible. Some are specifically devoted to visual resources: for example, 1000 Bible Images, Images of the Holy Land, Photos from the Holy Land, and The Biblical World in Pictures. Because of the high-quality tagging which Logos performs on its resources, you can find these images using the #image operator: for example, this search,

#image “golden calf”

finds any image that’s relatively close to the words “golden calf” (most, though not all, of which are depictions of some kind of calf).

Despite all the imagery that was already part of our resources, for Logos 4 we specially commissioned more than 100 brand new, high-resolution infographics. Why did we go to all this trouble (and expense)? One reason is that many of the images from published works have copyright restrictions that restrict Logos users from copying them for teaching, presentations, handouts, etc. By creating our own collection of infographics, we have clear rights which we can then pass along to our users for their ministry and other non-commercial use (republishing them, for example, in a book, is a different matter: contact Logos about situations like that). The same is true of the Logos maps for Biblical Places: you can copy and paste them into PowerPoint or other programs that support graphics, or print them out for ministry use. In Logos 4, you can view the infographics by typing “Open Infographics” in the Command Bar.

Creating the Logos Bible Software Infographics was a significant challenge that took numerous professional artists and many months of effort to complete. In the case of images representing buildings or artifacts from Biblical history, a great deal of that work involved careful research to determine how best to depict these objects.

Here’s one example: the Golden Calf which Aaron and the Israelites constructed by melting down their jewelry (Ex. 32). The Golden Calf infographic in Logos shows a glistening figure with long horns. A Logos user wrote to us last week to ask why we hadn’t caught an obvious mistake: calves (that is, baby cows) don’t have horns!

In fact, it’s much more involved than that. Scholars differ in their opinions about the background of the calf imagery and the cultural and historical details behind the incident (which is repeated later in Israel’s history under King Jeroboam, 1 Ki 12:28-33). The Hebrew word ‘ēg̱el translated here “calf” can refer either to cattle or oxen, up to three years of age: so it’s not necessarily a “baby cow” (and some scholars think the diminutive term here might be a reference of disdain to their small size, rather than their young age).

Archaeological discoveries from the same period time include many images of bovine or ox idols from surrounding nations: many of them do in fact include horns, including the Egyptian deity Hathor and other Canaanite deities. The moon god Sı̂n was often represented as a bull, perhaps reflecting the similarity of the horns of the bull to a crescent moon. We know from historical evidence that Sı̂n was worshiped both in Ur (the likely birthplace of Abraham and Sarah) and Haran (where the Patriarchs stopped on their journey to Palestine). So there’s good historical evidence supporting the possibility that the Israelites would have been familiar with these practices and images.

Of course, we can only speculate about what the actual golden calves (both Aaron’s and Jeroboam’s) might have looked like: no one actually knows. But we worked hard to make sure any images we created for the Logos Bible Software Infographics represented solid historical evidence. In Logos 4, you can look at the Biblical Things pages for Golden Calf, as well as Jeroboam’s Golden Image at Bethel and Dan, to learn more about these artifacts.

Want to go deeper into the background of subjects like the Golden Calf? Consider stepping up to a more in-depth Bible dictionary, like the International Standard Bible Encyclopedia, the Zondervan Encyclopedia of the Bible, or the Anchor Yale Bible Dictionary.

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